Sleepy Slovenia

Upon arriving in Ljublijana, we actually sat in a McD’s for a ½ hour waiting to catch our bus to the small lake town of Bled. We would have liked to walk around but until you are wearing a backpack that is ½ your weight and carry 2 sleeping bags, a laptop, and a jar of peanut butter and/or olives, you can’t understand how nice it is to sit on a bench with your belongings. We caught the bus for just 6 euro and the ride was really lovely as we snaked through the Julian Alps, arriving in Bled just in time as a crazy Slovenian woman who smelled horrible and was speaking rapid Slovenian to herself sat in the seat next to us.
We found our hostel with little problems as Bled is tiny and centered around one huge lake. We couldn’t check in until 6 for some reason so we left our stuff behind the bar, went to the grocery and got some more peanut butter and nasty thick white bread and made some sandwiches while sitting next to the lake.

Lake Bled is truly the stuff from fairy-tales. It has an island in the middle with a church that gondoliers take people out to visit and a castle that sits on a cliff overlooking the city.

The lake has tons of ducks and swans and after our picnic, we walked back to the hostel, met our friend Amanda( who we met in Manchester) who was meeting us in Bled for two days and checked in. Guess who we see while walking back to the hostel? The same rude Canadian at the same place we are. He seems to be following us and it is not good! Good news though was we got a 6 euro discount each for the owner being late to check us in so we decided to have dinner at what appeared to be a swanky and very modern place on the lake. Slovenia is dirt cheap even though it’s on the euro now so we got two huge salads, 3 chai teas and a huge fruit parfait for 25 euros and enjoyed the fact that it felt like we were on real vacation, eating real vegetables and fancy things like sundried tomatoes instead of backpacking. It was such a nice night and then we went home and caught up, getting to bed early.

The quaint little town, from our hostel window.

May 24
The next day, we booked a white water rafting trip on the River Sava Dolinka which is said to be about a Class II or III rapids. The trip was really cheap and we were on a boat with 2 middle-aged Israeli couples who thought they were really clever by “forgetting” to paddle leaving us 3 and the guide to paddle the whole time. How you “forget” you are on a rafting trip is beyond me, but while this was annoying, it didn’t bother me too much until the guide explained to us that if we didn’t get the next rapid right, we would all die if we fell off since the rocks would suck us under. Even that couldn’t get through their head and since it was our scariest rapid, I found myself screaming at them as the boat is sideways heading for a huge rock and the guide is shouting expletives at them up front. We made it though, surprisingly. After the rafting, which was calm otherwise, the company gave us a shot of traditional Slovenian blueberry vodka with blueberry’s actually in it before driving us back. We looked around and got some sandwiches before taking a nap in the hostel for 2 hours and then getting ready for dinner. We went to dinner in this little pub that was recommended to us by everyone and I had spaghetti while Ellie and Amanda had seafood risotto for so cheap. Then we headed to this other restaurant to try Bled Cream Cake which was invented in this restaurant. It was the best cream cake I have ever had and we pigged out on it, putting in a coma and clutching our bellies, heading back to the hostel with any plans of going out foiled.

May 25
We left Bled this morning to head towards Vienna, Austria by train. I spilled my bottle of water all over my purse which caused a minor flood in the Ljubljana train station and caused minor panic as I tried to air dry Ipod’s and travel reading lights while Ellie is argued about the train timetables with a Slovenian woman but as I type this, the two of us are sitting in our own little car with our bags propped up around us and the green Slovenian country side around us as the Julian Alps fade away, loving train travel and freedom.

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June 2008
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